Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 28, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

5:00 pm
>> it's a pleasure to see you. have a great week. >> thanks. >> keli goff. that'll do it for us. i'm dylan ratigan and up next is "hardball with chris matthews," which starts right now. mitt versus newt. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews out in chicago. leading off tonight, is newt the guy the white house really wants? the big political story of the weekend was the new hampshire leader's endorsement of newt for president. endorsements don't mean as much as they once did, but this one may be as big as it gets. still, the people who may be happiest about this endorsement are sitting in the white house. if newt actually won the nomination, you'd have to think he'd be a much fatter target for president obama than mitt romney. what the endorsement really means. that's our top story tonight. plus, mitt versus mitt.
5:01 pm
even if the obama campaign is happy about newt, they're preparing for romney. >> look, i was an independent during the time of reagan/bush. i'm not trying to return to reagan/bush. the principles that ronald reagan espoused are as true today as they were when he spoke them. >> there you go again. >> and that's just part of the -- a small part of a new dnc video that skewers mitt romney with his own words, and to devastating effect. also, the big political fight this year. republicans are fighting president obama on extending the payroll tax holiday. so let's get this straight. tax cuts are always good for the economy, except when democrats propose them. and is the occupy wall street movement to the 2012 election what the anti-war movement was to 1968? in other words, could it unintentionally turn the middle against the democratic candidate, president obama, and help throw the election to a republican who opposes everything the occupy movement
5:02 pm
stands for. and let me finish tonight with a tribute to chicago's first lady, maggie daley. we start with newt gingrich. howard fineman is an msnbc political analyst and the "huffington post" media group editorial director. and melissa donohue is now a fellow with the eisenhower institute. the new hampshire leader endorsement had a subtle slap at romney. "gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. we would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear." boy, that is a shot. howard, tell me about this. this is an endorsement that doesn't mean you win, but it means what? >> well, you don't want to get in the gun sights of the union leader. and it's clear that mitt romney is right there. sure, joe mcquaid, the publisher and president, who i spoke to just a couple of hours ago to ask him about the endorsement is thinking behind the endorsement.
5:03 pm
and the first thing joe mcquaid said to me was, did you see "saturday night live" last week, in the skit that they did about mitt romney? that's the one where the comedian plays mitt romney and mitt romney says he's been told by his advisers to be 15 to 17% more edgy in the future of the campaign. in other words, making fun of the phoneyness of mitt romney as a candidate. joe mcquaid was very focused on that. and clearly, he wasn't going to put up with a mitt romney, he didn't endorse him last time, isn't sourendorsing him this ti. picked newt gingrich, because mcquaid believes is the most kn potent, strongest conservative to go after barack obama. what the conservative base is looking for is not only someone who's qualified, but someone who can really take the case in the argument for conservative values to barack obama. and newt gingrich, whatever you think about his record, is a terrific attack guy and a terrific debater, and i think
5:04 pm
that's what joe mcquaid wants to see out of the new hampshire primary. >> jennifer, remind me, because i'm always listening to what you're predicting. weren't you predicting many weeks back that romney had a problem up there? >> i think that romney really still does have a problem up there. you're right, i've been saying it for a long time. i think it's his lack of leadership and what is a perceived inauthentic character flaw, a real trait, that he says one thing to one group, says another thing to another group, at a different time. i think mcquaid saw right through that, as many of the voters do. i don't think that romney is reflected in the polls as where he really is. i think he's actually capped. i think gingrich is in a competitive situation, where he might actually be able to turn this into something. some years, the union leader endorsement really means something. some years it doesn't mean that much. this year, i think it has legs. it helped mccain in 2008, when mccain was trying to come back from the dead, and that endorsement helped a lot. we saw today newt gingrich get
5:05 pm
eight endorsements from house members in new hampshire. and i think voters are going to take a hard look at him. they want a real conservative leader. >> let me just try something by both of you. i think newt gingrich could win the iowa caucuses and go ahead and win in new hampshire. here's why. the union leader has only endorsed three republicans who have gone on to win the primary. that's reagan in '80 and mccain in 2008. just limit him to about 20 points, anybody, especially gingrich, can then knock him off. if the goal is to reduce his number, his percentage, can they do it, howard? and then jennifer. >> as i said, i think having covered the state for a long time and knowing joe mcquaid and the union leader and its moves very well, they're more potent when they're going after somebody than when they are endorsing somebody.
5:06 pm
you don't want to get in their sights. and i think that's precisely where mitt romney is going to be. another point i'd make, chris, and joe mcquaid was telling me this, he was astonished at the amount of coverage that his endorsement got. not only because of 24/7 cable, but because of social media and the internet. this endorsement has reverberated all around the country, and it's important in new hampshire, as jennifer was saying in terms of this state officials endorsing gingrich, but it's also very important around the country. this bought newt gingrich a tremendous amount of credibility among knowledgeable political people, all across the republican landscape. >> let me ask you about this, bill clinton. let's take a look at bill clinton here. he's up to something and i'm wondering about it. here's bill clinton talking to news max, a part of his book promotion, i guess. he was asked why he thinks gingrich was surging in the polls. he says stuff here that sounds pretty generous towards newt gingrich, and wonder how this is going to play in the white house, how it's going to play in the country. here's gingrich saying pretty
5:07 pm
nice stuff against a republican who well may be the nominee against obama. let's listen. >> because of his performance in the debates, and it's not necessarily -- it's not any sort of traditional charisma, it's he thinks about this stuff all the time, he's articulate and he tries to think of a conservative version of an idea that will solve a legitimate problem. for example, last night, i watched the national security debate last night. and newt said two things that would make an independent voter say, well, i got to consider that. i think he's doing well, just because he's thinking and people are hungry for ideas that make some sense. >> howard, what's that about? >> what's it about in bill clinton's mind or -- >> yeah, what's bill clinton -- what is he up to? he's certainly favoring newt there, so is that -- is he playing the white house game of helping newt so he can be the nominee, and therefore be easier to beat?
5:08 pm
or is he just having a little fun and hurting the president so sell a book? i'm not knocking it. he's making news. we're talking about him. >> i talked to lots of white house and dnc people today, trying to suss out not the clinton story, but the general attitude toward newt gingrich. the campaign's pretty blase about gingrich. the dnc, which is more interesting, which has a lot of people who have been around washington for a long time, take newt very seriously. i think the dnc, the party apparatus takes newt more seriously than the obama campaign in chicago does, because they weren't really around here for the most part when newt was a big deal in the old days. i think bill clinton. partly with clinton, it's remembrance of things past. he did all those deals with newt back in the '90s. they had their fights, like ali frazier, et cetera. you know, they're old inadvertence. i also think there's no love lost between this white house and bill clinton. there just simply is not. and i don't think it's part of
5:09 pm
some machiavellian strategy engineered by david axelrod to lift up newt gingrich. i think that would be giving both the white house and clinton far too much credit. >> it would give their love affair too much credit too. what do you think, jennifer,'s going on here? we all know newt is smart. he reminds me of a basketball player from the '60s years ago. he came in the game and got ten shots in a row, then lose the ball. he was a streak shooter that would throw away the ball. >> right. >> howard knows what i'm -- go ahead. your thoughts? >> it's funny, because i think bill clinton is partly putting the white house on notice. because i think there is a tendency to underestimate newt gingrich. in 1994, when he brought in the contract with america and the mister republican house in 40 years, he basically did that under the radar. people were surprised on election day in '94 when republicans took the house. and he did it and he organized it and he led and he created the conservative movement that followed reagan's years, that we
5:10 pm
now live in. so i think there are a lot of people who are nostalgic for newt gingrich and that style of leadership. i also think gingrich has the capacity to bring out the base in a general election in a way that romney can't do. because they're not ambivalent about gingrich. they feel he's the true conservative. >> well, i could tell you who would like to see -- howard, i can the tell you who would like to see a gingrich versus obama campaign all next year, that's anyone who works in the media, wouldn't you agree? >> sure. >> the debates would be amazing. >> a month ago, newt gingrich, when he was still at 3%, was saying, i propose seven lincoln/douglas style debates with president obama. and everybody laughed at newt. but we would love it, are you kidding? and i think a lot of conservatives at the grassroots would love it, as jennifer was saying. my reading on it is they want someone who can really take it to the president intellectually
5:11 pm
in terms of intelligence and verbal combat. >> and someone who won't equivocate. i think also someone who won't equivocate. who will say what they think and be a straight talker. >> and he can change his position from time to time, but to quote the dnc -- >> he can put his foot in his mouth from time to time, too. >> to quote the dnc guy to the point that jennifer made, that i spoke to a little while ago, he said, anyone who underestimates him does so at their own peril. and that's the dnc talking. but i'm not sure the people out in chicago quite get the same message. >> you got to wonder what the president thinks. by the way, who would the obama campaign prefer to run against? romney or gingrich? well, the latest polling out of new hampshire from the university of new hampshire shows that in a general election matchup, president obama leadses romney. but look at the matchup with gingrich, it's got the president ahead, 52/40. but jennifer, this time you start, it seems to me in terms
5:12 pm
of just a pleasant outlook for the year, this president, barack obama, would want to prefer, it seems to me, looking forward to series of genteel debates with governor romney, where he's sort of predictable and he'll throw his sunday punch, but you know what it's going to be, whereas newt will have 30 or 40 follow-up punches and they may be thought up on the spot. go ahead, your thoughts. >> i totally agree. i think that newt gingrich turns on a dime. he's a great debater. he's not afraid to really go for the jugular, but he doesn't do it in a very negative way, either. i think he actually could do it and dismantle obama and make it very difficult for obama to be -- defend his record. and i also think that gingrich has the capacity to lead on television, which romney doesn't. and romney also doesn't connect in person. gingrich has more charisma than romney does. >> boy, you are killing romney right now, you know that, don't you? you're assassinating this guy -- >> i really don't believe he's a
5:13 pm
strong candidate against obama. >> you're saying newt gingrich is a warmer presence than someone else? howard, can you get in there. here's where i disagree with jennifer -- >> you've been with both of them. >> i don't agree with that at all. >> howard? >> i agree that romney is -- as andrew sullivan says -- makes plastic look genuine, but that's andrew sullivan talking, not me. >> of course. >> but newt gingrich can be a very, very coldly dismissive guy. he can -- he has a -- there's something slight off in his radar about his conception of himself. to say that he has a churchillian view of himself is an understatement. and newt gingrich's ego is something that could get him in trouble. his big challenge over the next days and weeks and months, if he ever gets that far, is to keep that sort of sweeping, gigantic
5:14 pm
ego in check and to somehow be a friendlier guy. when newt gingrich tries to be a warm and fuzzy guy, it's just as scary as when mitt romney tries to do it. >> well, he's changed a lot over the years, though. newt gingrich has changed completely in the past 10, 15 years. i think -- i mean, if you see him on the stump, he's much more relaxed. he's much more comfortable in his own skin. now he's converted to catholici catholicism, he seems like he's very, very into the religion, he's totally into his wife. i think he's changed a lot. >> jennifer, as i ask everybody who's married and i ask you all right now, do you ever meet anybody who changes like your spouse? i've never met anybody who changes. people are the same guys when you meet people you went to high school, the 50th reunion, they seem like the same person. >> but the point is, though, chris -- >> we've got to go, howard -- >> if a union leader can make it romney versus gingrich, which a union leader is going to try to
5:15 pm
do, gingrich will have a really good shot in new hampshire. >> i think you're right. it's good to have a little kerfuffle here. howard fineman, jennifer donohue, who thinks gingrich is charming. they're fighting against extending the payroll tax credit, because president obama wants to cut taxes here. and later, that devastating new dnc video we promised you about mitt romney against mitt romney. >> you know that mitt romney invented obama care before he was against it. do you remember that? >> well, that's what we did in massachusetts. and that is, we put together an exchange and the president's copying that idea. i'm glad to hear that. >> obama care is bad news, and if i'm president of the united states, i will repeal it. >> well, could the democrats make that flip-flopping of romney hurt? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. you name it.
5:16 pm
i've tried it. but nothing's helped me beat my back pain. then i tried this. it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours. and my pharmacist told me it's the only otc pain patch approved for sale using the same rigorous clinical testing that's required for prescription pain medications. proven. powerful. safe. salonpas. republican presidential candidate herman cain says another woman will soon come forward, saying she had an
5:17 pm
extramarital affair with him. cain says the woman was a friend he helped when she didn't have a job, but says the accusations of an affair are baseless. he never had a sexual relationship with her, he says. an atlanta tv station has a report that the two had an affair. i guess, according to her, that lasted 13 years. in the past month, two other women came forward alleging cain had sexually harassed them and two others had made similar allegations without being identified publicly. those accusations helped drive cain lower in the polls after he enjoyed a stint at the front of the republican pack. we'll be right back. all because so many people came to louisiana... they came to see us in florida... make that alabama... make that mississippi. the best part of the gulf is wherever you choose... and now is a great time to discover it. this year millions of people did. we set all kinds of records. next year we're out to do even better. so come on down to louisiana... florida... alabama... mississippi. we can't wait to see you. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
5:18 pm
5:19 pm
this payroll tax is set to expire at the end of next month. the end of next month. the end of the year, this tax cut ends. and if we allow that to happen, if congress refuses to act, then middle class families are going to get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time.
5:20 pm
>> welcome back to "hardball." that was the president speaking in new hampshire last week on the importance of extending the payroll tax holiday. that's a tax cut. when was the last time you saw a republican oppose a tax cut? well, apparently, it's the wrong kind of tax cut. here's how the debate played out on the sunday shows. let's listen. >> the payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. we don't think that is a good way to do it. >> the republican position is, they'll raise the payroll tax on working families? i think that just defies logic. what we should do is to help these working families struggle through. >> well, it appears republicans favor a tax cut, unless it will help lower and middle class americans. and most importantly, unless it's proposed by president obama. they also oppose the democrat's plan to pay for it by taxing the wealthiest americans. david corn is an msnbc political analyst and washington bureau chief for "mother jones" magazine and ron christie is a fellow at the john f. kennedy
5:21 pm
institute of politics at harvard. ron, i want to start with you on this for once and give you the honor of explaining this. republicans believe that we should do anything that's onerous on hiring people, because that makes it harder to hire people and reduces unemployment. is that correct? >> absolutely. >> generally speaking? generally speaking, for example, republicans usually oppose any -- or support a differential for youth getting jobs in the summer, a lower minimum wage, for example, because it makes them cheaper, and therefore gets more young people hired in the summer, right? the general republican working principle is, make it cheaper to hire people per hour, whether it's through minimum wage being lower or lower taxes on hiring them, so more people will be hired, right? >> yep. so far, so good. >> what about this time. why are they opposed to continuing the holiday or the tax cut on the payroll tax? >> well, chris, i think there are two things here at play. first of all, politically speaking, at the end of december or before everyone goes home for the holidays, i think you'll have an extension of the payroll tax holiday. what we're talking about,
5:22 pm
really, is a matter of politics rather than a matter of substance. the substance of the matter is, republicans are very much against raising taxes, particularly in a weak economy. for all the reasons that you just outlined, you don't want to hurt those who are helping to create jobs in the united states. what we have here, though, is an entirely different issue. you have a payroll tax holiday. last year, the congress and the president came out with an agreement that said, we are going to divert 2% of the money that you would otherwise be putting away for social security, back into your pockets. that amounted to about $19.24 in everybody's pocketbook, per week. now what we have is a democratic proposal that says, we're going to take 3% out, and not only are we going to take 3% out of social security, but we're also going to tax millionaires, we're going to tax the wealthy people, tax the people who are creating the small businesses in this country to pay for it. so if raising taxes is a bad idea -- >> okay, okay. >> -- how is it that you can also say you should raise them.
5:23 pm
>> david, you take over. i only heard the president say, let's continue the payroll tax cut. there's no quid pro quo in the way it would be legislated. but ron's complicating the thing here. >> of course, the facts get in the way of a good narrative. >> no, no. >> no, no. >> you go ahead, david. >> listen, the republicans are kind of experts at having it both ways on almost any issue. you know, they passed the bush tax cuts without paying for them, and then they extended them without paying for them. they apparently want to extend them again, ad infinitum into the end of the universe without ever paying for them. when the president comes along and says he wants to extend the payroll tax holiday, and he included, in his bill, a way to pay for it, and then the democrats in congress came up with a different way to do that, the republicans are all of a sudden crying foul and saying, we can't extend these tax cuts, oh, my god, we may even have to pay for these tax cuts. these are the guys who have been calling for trillions of dollars
5:24 pm
in deficit reduction for a year now and don't want to pay for tax cuts, but what are they going to do? tell the middle class, hey, when it comes to your tax cuts, we don't want to pay for them, they can go up. but when it comes to the tax cuts for the rich, we don't have to pay for them, let them go on and on and on. i don't think this is a good position to stake out. >> if mitch mcconnell were to ask you or tell you right now, mitch mcconnell has endorsed continuing the payroll tax cut. would you go along with it? if the republican leader in the senate said, it's time to continue the tax cuts, would you support that? sf >> it's never as simple as that. >> i'm asking you! >> and i'm telling you. i said at the outset, at the end of the day, we'll have a deal with the democrats and republicans and president obama and you'll have that extension. as i said, this is more politics than it is substance. david talks about the republicans put tax cuts they don't want to pay for, that's
5:25 pm
the craziest notion i've heard in my life. you earn money. how much does the government deserve to have their hand in your back pocket, is the question? and the democrats don't want to touch entitlement reform. for this payroll tax holiday that we're talking about, it's $118 billion a year that's being diverted from social security. i think what this really addresses here, david, hang on a second, what this really addresses here is the need for the fact that we need to have overhauling the tax code as one of our key priorities. republicans and democrats alike. >> you changed the subject three times now, to entitlements to tax reforming to the issue of raising taxes on the wealthy. let me go back to this principle. i want david to follow up here. the principle here, it seems to be, is that tax cuts are good if ronald reagan proposes them or if mitch mcconnell jumps in or if some republican puts the intermodem on them. back in the '60s when kennedy tried to cut taxes, republicans opposed them. it just seems unless it's their idea, they're fiscally
5:26 pm
responsible enough to oppose them, just as a blanket idea. your thoughts, david? >> true, but when ronald reagan proposed tax hikes, which he did five times, nowadays you can't get republicans to go along with that. it really seems the only tax cuts they like now are ones that really benefit the high end. of course you have to pay for tax cuts. there's a revenue stream. if you're going to cut back on your revenue stream for the government, you have to do one of two things. you can say, okay, we're not going to have good food safety programs. or you have to sort of say, we're going to make up for that some other way. the republicans did not do that with the bush tax cuts, and now they're getting into a whole huff about how to my for the payroll tax cuts. it's making up the revenue. and ron, the pay-for-itness does keep the social security fund whole. that money goes into the social security fund. you're not robbing the social security fund to finance these tax cuts -- >> oh, david, david, please. >> let me finish. unless, of course, the
5:27 pm
republicans want to do what they've done all along the last decade, which is put it on the credit card. >> oh, please. >> we have to go. we have to go. i'm sorry. quickly. >> of course. >> i would predict that scott brown up in massachusetts will vote to continue the payroll tax cuts. >> it's going to happen anyway. >> if you were in the senate, you'd vote for it too, i don't know what you're fighting this in some weird kind of principle here. >> it's about substance over actually politics. substance over politics, my friend. up next, one of the baddest mouth on the left, or at least the progressive left, is looking to get back into the congress. stick around for that in the side show. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ it's nice to be here
5:28 pm
♪ it's nice to see you in my bed ♪ ♪ ♪ there are diamonds in her eyes ♪ ♪ and they sparkle in the night ♪ [ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ when the moment comes alive [ male announcer ] this is zales, the diamond store. take an extra 10 percent off online purchases monday only. take an extra 10 percent off usa prime credit... this peggy... hi, i'm cashing in my points... peggy? no more points - coupons now. coupons? coupons. coupons? next, you convert coupons to tokens. tokens? then you trade tokens for credits. and then i get the cash? then you call back. bye bye. peggy? hello? what just happened?
5:29 pm
want rewards that make sense? switch to discover. america's #1 cash rewards program. it pays to discover. selling fishcakes from the back of his truck, and in 1942, of course, they were sent away. after the war, as a japanese coming back from camp, he started a little store on main street in seattle. of course they needed some money, and bank of america was the only bank who would talk to my father. and we've stayed with bank of america. we have four stores now, three in the pacific northwest and one in oregon. my parents would not believe how popular it is now. [ man ] we've been in the business over the course of four centuries. [ woman ] it was a family business back then, and it still feels like a family business now. the only people who knew about us were those in new england, that moment that we got our first web order... ♪ ...we could tell we were on the verge of something magical.
5:30 pm
all of a sudden it just felt like things were changing. we can use this to advertise to bakers everywhere. [ man ] browns summit, north carolina. crescent city, california. we had a package go to kathmandu once. the web has been the reason this entire section of the warehouse exists today. we were becoming more than this little flour company in vermont. [ woman ] we're all going after one common goal, which is to spread the joy of baking throughout the whole world. ♪ ♪ ♪ back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, gracing for the prosecution. after losing his house seat last year with only one term under
5:31 pm
his belt, florida democrat alan gracin is giving it another go. campaigning again to represent orlando. think you don't remember him? maybe this will help jog your memory. >> if you get sick in america, this is what the republicans want you to do. if you get sick, america, the republican health care plan is this, die quickly! >> wow. that was gracin in his element back during the health care debate. do you think he'll be welcomed back with open arm ifs the election works out in his favor? maybe not. once his former colleagues catch wind of his recent interview with "newsweek." when asked why he's eager to make a capitol hill comeback, gracin said, "i'll be down on the floor every day calling them out for the crazy stuff they do that nobody ever finds out about because they're not witnesses to it." and later ", the real two-party system in america is the meanies and the weenies. the meanies want to take away your benefits and the weenies want to compromise with them."
5:32 pm
well, if you think compromise is bad, vote for gracin. next up, break out the popcorn, it's "9-9-9," the movie. sounds like a lot to handle, but thankfully it's more of a short than a full-length feature. but the herman cain campaign did go with it, releasing a six-minute animated sequence talking about the tax plan. and it wouldn't be a real thing without a trailer. let's take a look at the tease for "9-9-9," the movie. >> the federal tax code is an overgrown monster, but it's not even a cool monster. it's a dorky, mechanical monster. the more transparent is tax system, the more accountable government has to be. the 9-9-9 plan is simple enough to vangish squirrely democrats. >> perhaps not enticing enough to ramp up excitement for the full six-minute version. i think we hear enough of it from cain himself. anyway, up next, mitt versus
5:33 pm
mitt. the dnc has a new ad skewering mitt romney for his changing positions on the issues. >> i will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose. >> the right next step in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see roe v. wade overturned. >> there's much more where that came from when we return. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. tdd# 1-800-345-2550
5:34 pm
tdd# 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about making sense out of tdd# 1-800-345-2550 what's happening right now. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 tdd# 1-800-345-2550 at charles schwab, we're ready with objective insights about tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the current market and economic conditions. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 and we can help turn those insights into a plan tdd# 1-800-345-2550 of action that's right for you. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 so talk to chuck and turn complexity tdd# 1-800-345-2550 tdd# 1-800-345-2550 into clarity. tdd# 1-800-345-2550
5:35 pm
5:36 pm
i'm julia boorstin with your cnbc market wrap. stocks snapping a seven-day losing streak. the dow jones industrials soaring 291 points. the s&p 500 jumping 33, and the nasdaq surging 85 points. strong black friday sales putting investors back in a buying mood after some big sell-offs last week. france and germany are exploring
5:37 pm
making radical changes to the original eurozone treaty, aimed at creating deeper but more flexible fiscal ties between the members. meanwhile, american retailers racked up a record $52.5 billion over thanksgiving weekend. that's up more than 16% over last year. amazon surged in anticipation of cybermonday, already announcing that its kindles have been selling like hot cakes. materials advanced as carl icahn offered to buy commercial metals for about $1.7 billion. and anadarko petroleum announced that a recent natural gas find off of mozambique is about twice as large as originally thought. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." i'm running for office, for pete's sake. >> who is this guy? can you trust him?
5:38 pm
>> i have never supported the president's recovery act, all right? the stimulus. no time, nowhere, no how. >> i think there is need for economic stimulus. >> you're only allowed a certain number of flips before people start to doubt your character. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was a portion of an online web video that the democratic national committee has created to remind voters that mitt romney has turned flip-flopping into an art form. it's called "mitt versus mitt," and dnc's having some fun using humor to skewer mr. romney. they've even created a movie-like trailer which will air in six swing-state like markets this week. >> from the creator of "i'm running for office, for pete's sake," comes the story of two men trapped in one body, "mitt versus mitt." >> i will protect and preserve a woman's right to choose. >> the next right step is to overturn roe versus wade. >> two mitts willing to say
5:39 pm
anything. >> we've put together an exchange and the president's copying that, i'm glad to hear. >> the president's plan is bad news. >> the dnc is spending about $22 million, which amounts to the trailer running a few times in each market, but obviously we're showing it. the idea is to really get people like us talking about it. alex wagner and sam stein joining us. thank you so much, it seems to me you've got to be mitt romney thinking through how you find your way through the flip-flop issue. is this something, a, he can fix, or b, that the independent voter's just going to say, hey, male or female, you know, i flip a lot on issues. i'm not sure where i stand. is there any way this doesn't hurt him? alex? >> alex first? >> i'm sorry, go ahead, sam. >> i mean, i think this is something that's dogged mitt romney for a while now. and it's sort of engrained in the voter's mind that he has a problem with consistency. my surprise is it took the dnc to do this.
5:40 pm
usually you would expect that mitt romney's opponents for the primaries would be the ones who did it, like they did in 2008. but of course it creates problems for him. like we saw with john kerry in 2004. if you hammer away enough at someone's core consistency, and accuse him of being a flip-flopper, voters -- >> but sam, go to the next step. how could you, as a citizen voter or support a candidate you knew who flip-flopped. tell me the mental process of saying, yeah, but i would vote for him. >> you sort of hinted at it earlier on, which is someone could reasonably say, listen, no one should be totally dogmatic if they can't change positions over the course of time. i want someone who's actually presenting new data, new evidence, and alters their position as such. the problem is that's not how elections are usually waged. so what you see and what you should theoretically see in a primary battle is mitt romney's republican opponents saying, listening, he's hiding his real views. he's actually a centrist. look at all these old clips. they prove he's a centrist. except the republican field's not doing this. it's the dnc. >> you know, alex, sam got to a
5:41 pm
point there, we're showing this ad. the dnc's paying for this ad on a limited basis. republican conservatives are watching it. this is helping to bring down mitt romney. in conservative eyes. >> it's not only bad for potential independent voters, but, yeah, i think you're absolutely right, chris. if you're a conservative and you're doubtful about mitt romney's position and you look in this add, it's not just one issue, it's everything. it's t.a.r.p., it's the auto bailouts, it's a woman's right to choose, it's the stimulus pip mean, literally, the add sort of pokes fun at it and there's a lot of levity in it, but it's very serious. i mean, i think it's just a litany of issues. and look, there's a k-2 of opposition research on mitt romney that i think the white house must be just frothing over at this point. >> i just wonder about -- i wonder how the hard right, the fox viewer, for example, generally speaking, can support a guy who they know doesn't share their rock-solid right-wing attitudes. they just can't believe this guy is a fellow traveler. by the way, we've got a new story to report here. not exactly a happy story. as i told you earlier, an
5:42 pm
atlanta tv station has aired a portion of an interview with a woman who says she had an extended 13-year affair with herman cain, who's still a candidate on the republican side. here's a clip of that interview with her. >> it was pretty simple. it wasn't complicated. and i was aware that he was married and i was also aware that i was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship. >> sam, what do you make of this? is this guy already toast in terms of actually winning the presidential nomination of the republican praearty and this wi be just perhaps a coup de grace? how do you calculate here? >> obviously, we should withhold judgment until we see more evidence. but isn't this like the book tour that went terribly awry. poor herman cain, we wants to sell book and doesn't want to be president and all this stuff is coming out. obviously he's not going to be president. this is just another nail in the coffin. if you looked at his lawyer's
5:43 pm
statement, the lawyer didn't deny about this statement. cain went on cnn and did deny it. someone's got the story mixed up. but it's all destruction. and at some point, i would suspect that the elders in the gop would say, enough's enough. this is starting to tarnish the entire party. we look kind of childish and immature here. let's get this guy off to the sidelines, enough already. >> alex, your thoughts on this? maybe he'll stay in now to keep his dignity, but this is the kind of thing he ought to have given some thought to before he announced, i think. >> he should have given some thought to a lot of things, i think, chris. with herman cain, it brings to mind that phrase, denial ain't just a river in egypt, which is quite clicollilichcliche. i think that this is if not a nail in the coffin, this is just kind of the final nod, exit left, please, herman cain. thing for a while now, people have been waiting for this thing to finally be over.
5:44 pm
i'm not sure this will be it. insofar as as herman cain seems very reluctant to leave the national stage. but in terms of being taken seriously, i think it's over. >> let's do better what we do better than anyone else. does this help to clear the field for newt to the right of romney? you got to get a clean shot that way. that could give him a clean shot. less interference with the cain vote. less interference, probably, from perry already. >> i think you're right on this. i think if newt's looking at this, he would welcome any of those non-romney candidates to get out of the race so he can have center stage. i've got to think that jon huntsman is sitting there, holding his head in his hands, wondering how he can be trailing herman cain after all of this. at some point, huntsman has got to move up, right? >> if he can bring 10 or 15 points in new hampshire, it might be just enough to bring with the help of the union leader, as we saw the endorsement this week, and put those two factors together, they can bring romney down blow 25 and open the door for newt. he could win two in a row.
5:45 pm
this is very strange, very strange. maybe the white house is cheering. thank you so much, guys. and alex, great going with that show of yours. have me on. >> thanks, chris. up next, could the occupy wall street movement be to 2012 what the anti-vietnam war movement was to 1968? this is not complicated. could the left, the far left, turn the mainstream america people, the voters in the middle, against the democratic president? and throw the election to a republican? you know, a nixon-like candidate, a newt gingrich? this is "hardball," only on msnbc. how did i get here? dumb luck? or good decisions? ones i've made. ones we've all made. about marriage. children. money. about tomorrow. here's to good decisions. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders so they matter most to us.
5:46 pm
massmutual. we'll help you get there. [ gasps ] [ male announcer ] if you're giving an amazing gift, shouldn't it be given in an amazing way? ♪ ♪ the lexus december to remember sales event is here, but only for a limited time. see your lexus dealer for exclusive lease offers on the 2012 es 350 and, as a gift from lexus, we'll make your first month's payment. barney frank, the congressman from massachusetts, has announced he won't run for re-election in 2012. the 16-term congressman from massachusetts has been in office since 1981 and has been a major player in housing and banking policy. he's also been a lightning rod for republicans who opposed his consistently liberal positions and fear his wit.
5:47 pm
at a news conference today, congressman frank said he originally intended to run for one more term, but changed his mind in part because of the state's new redistricting map will move in more than 300,000 new constituents into his district. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. your core competency is...competency. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. i'm getting an upgrade. [ male announcer ] as you wish, business pro. as you wish. go national. go like a pro. now through january earn a free day with every two rentals. find out more at nationalcar.com.
5:48 pm
with less chronic low back pain. imagine living your life with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is a non-narcotic treatment that's fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one pill a day, every day, can help reduce this pain. tell your doctor right away if your mood worsens, you have unusual changes in mood or behavior or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. cymbalta is not approved for children under 18. people taking maois or thioridazine or with uncontrolled glaucoma should not take cymbalta. taking it with nsaid pain relievers, aspirin, or blood thinners may increase bleeding risk. severe liver problems, some fatal, were reported. signs include abdominal pain and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
5:49 pm
talk with your doctor about your medicines, including those for migraine, or if you have high fever, confusion and stiff muscles, to address a possible life-threatening condition. tell your doctor about alcohol use, liver disease, and before you reduce or stop taking cymbalta. dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing. side effects include nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor about cymbalta. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. go to cymbalta.com to learn about a free trial offer. we're back. what's next for the occupy wall street movement? we all wonder. more than two months after protesters first set up camp in zuccotti park in downtown, new york, the movement has spread to cities across the country, and around the world, really. but questions remain about its staying power and support among the broader american population. take a look at these latest gallup poll numbers from last week. while more people consider themselves supporters of the
5:50 pm
movement than opponents, the majority of people expressed indifference towards them. isn't troubling for supporters, more americans don't like the way the protests are being conducted by the protesters. it's the disapproval that republicans hope to tap into this election in an atmosphere that is reminiscent of '68. this week's "new york" magazine has an article. the frustration among white middle class voters with the counterculture movement. is there a danger in 2012 that the republican nominee could do the same. john wrote the cover story after reporting on the movement and talking to their leaders. isn't it interesting, at the same point that you see this parallel that this may be, if you will, hurting the left, the
5:51 pm
center left in the form of president obama, that we're seeing newt gingrich, a real nixon-type candidate emerging on the right? >> right. and you saw the notion of the silent majority and the appeals to the resentment of some resisting that. we've seen eric cantor calling them mobs and herman cain say that they're designed to distract people from obama's failed policies. there's a real concern. president obama is trying to tap into some of the frustrations that the movement has brought to the surface. the polls you cited are interesting. i'm more impressed with the fact that 75% or 80% of the country essentially agrees with the critique of the occupy wall street people. the power of big banks and corporations should be reined in. that's a big support for their
5:52 pm
basic underlying critique. but you see the right already trying to make a nixon move. you see obama trying to tap into that energy. what i found talking to the people down on occupy wall street is that they very much, like the new left in 1968, their attitude towards barack obama is, he's as bad as the republicans. >> as you point out, some republicans seem to be channeling a richard nixon in response to the protest. here was newt gingrich earlier this month bashing the movement. let's listen to newt. >> they take over a public park they didn't pay for to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park so they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. that is a pretty good symptom of
5:53 pm
how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, go get a job right after you take a bath. >> newt's attack was also reminiscent of late '60s fire george wallace who had this memorable line to sum up the counterculture movement. let's listen to him. >> there are two four-letter words they don't know. w-o-r-k and s-o-a-p. >> it seems to me -- let me ask you this -- not that i'm not supportive of their movement. wall street has too much clout in congress. you see democratic fund-raisers are just as busy as republican fund-raisers are up there on wall street. but the way that people present themselves at these events, this thing about facial hair, which is normal for people sitting in tents three or four weeks at a time. but there seems to be an almost dress for the occasion aspect to
5:54 pm
this, a street theater which is sometime very fun. but that street theater does play into the hands of the right. they love the fact that the left sees street theater as counterculture behavior. >> yes. and you've got also a large right wing conservative media apparatus now in america that chooses to take isolated incidents at these protests and blow them up and make them sound as if they're characteristic of the whole movement. anytime anybody gets sick or there's an incident of crime, they portray it as if it's rampant throughout the movement. as i say, i think there's just as much danger on the left in a lot of ways. you remember in 1968, a lot of the occupy wall street people i talk to, they're young enough that they were surprised when i say, you know, the democratic convention -- the big protests that blew up the convention in 1968 was at the democratic convention in chicago, not the republican one. that shattered hubert humphries'
5:55 pm
base. >> some of the people on the left in those crowds were there specifically to egg those cops on and they knew what they were doing, with razor blades. and it was unbelievable. and they wanted that to happen to create a more revolutionary effect. thank you, john. when we return, let me finish with a tribute to maggie daley. name it. i've tried it. but nothing helped me beat my back pain. then i tried salonpas. it's powerful relief that works at the site of pain and lasts up to 12 hours. salonpas.
5:56 pm
sweet & salty nut bars... they're made from whole roasted nuts and dipped in creamy peanut butter, making your craving for a sweet & salty bar irresistible, by nature valley. our machines help identify early stages of cancer, and it's something that we're extremely proud of. you see someone who is saved because of this technology, you know that the things that you do in your life matter.
5:57 pm
if i did have an opportunity to meet a cancer survivor, i'm sure i could take something positive away from that. [ jocelyn ] my name is jocelyn. and i'm a cancer survivor. [ woman ] i had cancer. i have no evidence of disease now. [ woman #2 ] i would love to meet the people that made the machines. i had such an amazing group of doctors and nurses, it would just make such a complete picture of why i'm sitting here today. ♪ [ man ] from the moment we walk in the front door, just to see me -- not as a cancer patient, but as a person that had been helped by their work, i was just blown away. life's been good to me. i feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world. ♪
5:58 pm
5:59 pm
let me finish tonight with a very good person. maggie daley, the first lady of chicago for 22 years, was a beloved figure in this city. i attended her funeral today at a warm church as beautiful in its human feel as in the fine splendor of its architecture. the spirit in the church was human love, the love of a woman for those around her in this, a circle wide and beyond her grateful family to a grateful city. she's been the heart of chicago, i kept hearing today, and knew it w coming. why? because every once in a while, you may be fortunate enough to
left
right